Jobs, Jobs, and Jobs – FRIDAY JOBS REPORT – The unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent in August, with 96,000 jobs created. Economists had expected an increase of 125,000 jobs. President Obama needs a highly improbably 279,000 jobs per month for the unemployment rate to dip below 8 percent by Election Day. The silver lining? U.S. stocks hit a multi-year high on Thursday, with the S&P 500 ending at its highest level since before the Lehman collapse. The Nasdaq rose to its highest level since 2000, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 28.86 points, its highest level since May 2008.
Obama's Big Flop – (via The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky) “Let’s be blunt. Barack Obama gave a dull and pedestrian speech tonight, with nary an interesting thematic device, policy detail, or even one turn of phrase.”
How the Speeches Played – President Barack Obama delivered his nomination acceptance speech before a captive prime-time television audience on Thursday evening, but he did not manage to fire it up quite like he did in 2008 or 2004. On the contrary, his speech at times seemed more like a State of the Union address than a campaign speech, and Obama seemed to be playing defense, rather than offense. The Obama campaign had planned for the President's speech to serve as the culmination of a three-pronged strategy, in which First Lady Michelle Obama reconnected with voters with a highly personal speech, former President Bill Clinton addressed the "disappointed" issue, the notion that Obama hasn't moved the country forward, and Obama closed the deal by addressing the future. But, that strategy may have backfired, as consensus via Twitter is that Clinton far outshined the President. (Full highlights and video here). Key quotes: On "change": "If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible … well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves." On the Republican plan: "Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years: “Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.” “Deficit too high? Try another. “Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”
NBC's Andrea Mitchell: "There wasn't a whole lot of new policy except on education, but certainly this was a way to rally the troops.” CNN's Anderson Cooper: "it certainly wasn't a speech full of soaring rhetoric like some of his speeches four years ago." Buzzfeed's Ben Smith: “This isn't his most soaring speech, but Obama also doesn't feel totally present in reading/delivering it.”Slate's Matt Yglesias: "This is the speech you give when you think you're winning and just want to avoid screwing up."
Clinton Outshined – CNN's Brianna Keilar: "Don't Think I'm Going Out On A Limb To Say Clinton Was Wayyyyyyy Better Than Obama.” CBS's Bob Schieffer: “But this as not the kind of speech that Bill Clinton made last night. It just didn't have that spark.” Miami Herald's Marc Caputo: “When Obama built to a crescendo, the cheers exploded. A workman-like speech for a master speaker, but it lacked Clinton's magic.”
Vice President Joe Biden delivered a nomination acceptance speech of his own on Thursday evening, firing up the crowd before Obama took the stage. Biden focused in on Obama's character, relating to the audience on what it has been like to work with Obama for the past four years. At points, Biden played the role of attack dog, hammering against the Republicans, and their foreign policy in particular, but the strongest moments came when Biden spoke to Obama's upstanding character and integrity. (Read the full excerpts and watch video here) Key quote: "I can remember the day that my dad sat at the end of my bed, and said, things are going to be tough for a while. I have to go to Delaware to get a new job. But it's going to be better for us. The rest of my life, my dad never failed to remind me--that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your children in the eye—and say honey, it’s going to be okay, and believe it was going to be okay. When Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding. If you took responsibility, you’d get a fair shot at a better deal. The values behind that deal--were the values that shaped us both. And today, they are Barack’s guiding star. Folks, I’ve watched him. He never wavers. He steps up. He asks the same thing over and over again: How is this going to work for ordinary families? Will it help them?"
Best AM headline from The Onion, "Biden Says Life Better Than It Was 4 Years Ago But Nothing Can Touch Summer of '87."
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry delivered the third high-profile speech of the evening, highlighting the "consequences of a Romney-Ryan foreign policy agenda." The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and potential future Secretary of State, attacked Mitt Romney for not mentioning U.S. troops overseas in his convention speech. It was a surprising reversal from the leader of the party which Republicans have long called weak on defense issues. (Read the highlights from the speech here) Money quote: “It isn’t fair to say Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan,” Kerry said. “He has every position. He was against setting a date for withdrawal — then he said it was right — and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was ‘tragic’ to leave Iraq, and then he said it was fine. He said we should’ve intervened in Libya sooner. Then he ran down a hallway to run away from the reporters asking questions. Then he said the intervention was too aggressive. Then he said the world was a ‘better place’ because the intervention succeeded. Talk about being for it before you were against it!”
Politico's Maggie Haberman: "Wow - Kerry just brutal on Romney and the troops." NY Times' Jeff Zeleny: "A striking difference between conventions: Military service, patriotism are center stage at Democratic convention and nearly absent at GOP." Politico's Dylan Byers: "Kerry slams Romney for not mentioning troops overseas in his convention speech ... Crowd goes wild."
From the Romney Situation Room – Romney's response to the speeches: “Tonight President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven't worked for the past four years. He offered more promises, but he hasn’t kept the promises he made four years ago. Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record – they know they’re not better off and that it’s time to change direction. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will restore America’s promise and deliver a better future for our country."
"A Better Future" – Romney released 15 new television ads in eight states today, titled " A Better Future," which show how we're not better off under President Obama, and what Romney will do to create jobs and spur economic growth as president. Watch here.
Best of PolicyMic – It's been yet another amazing week at PolicyMic. Between our live coverage of the Democratic Convention and the MTV VMAs, we covered the political and cultural spectrum. Special thanks to all of the PolicyMic editors, Michael Luciano, Alex Marin, Sam Meier, Chris Miles, and Elena Sheppard for working overtime all week long. Here are several top highlights this week:
- Our team of live bloggers covered every aspect of the DNC Convention, providing real-time analysis during all the major speeches. A big thank you to: Joseph Beck, Daniel Cetina, John Doble, Grant Ferowich, Lena Kheir, Mythili Sampathkumar, Lee Storrow. The results for most views of the week are still coming in, so stay tuned for our upcoming announcement of this week's live blog challenge winner.
- We partnered with the Truman National Security Project earlier this week for the Convention, and Truman's scholars providing top-notch analysis on foreign policy and national security issues all week long: Laicie Olson, Ari Ratner, Andrew Lubin, Jessie Daniels, and Chris Miller were all rockstars. Thanks to editor Danny Gaynor for coordinating.
- Pundit Chris Miller got published in The Atlantic this week for his article on "The Ever-Changing Style of the U.S. Army", while Pundit Andrew Wilkes was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review for his article, "A faithful force for good."
Feedback – With the DNC and RNC Conventions behind us, we're already looking ahead to the Romney vs. Obama debates, which begin on October 3rd. We'd love to know what you'd like to see on PolicyMic during the presidential debates. How can we make the experience interactive? Should we host debates? Live blogs? Live events? Let us know what would get you excited to contribute!
Top PolicyMic Stories – Who Gave the Best Speech Over the Past Two Week? (Chris Miles) – It wasn't Mitt Romney. It wasn't Michelle Obama. It wasn't Clint Eastwood.
BLS Jobs Report: Unemployment Rate Falls, But Obama Should Still Be Worried (Frank Hagler) – The August jobs report was released and the dismal number is likely to negate any forward momentum that Obama received from the convention.
Elizabeth Warren vs. Scott Brown: Brown Donors Profited From Mortgage Meltdown (Michael Luciano) – Two of Scott Brown's biggest donors were involved in a large-scale con that paid off when the housing market went bust.
The 3 Most Ridiculous Moments at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards (Jasper Zweibel) – The 2012 MTV VMA's gave us a soulful Frank Ocean, an indecipherable Nicki Minaj, an MIA Kristen Stewart, and three moments that should go in the MTV weird-history books.
Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Paperwhite Show Amazon is at War with Apple iPad Mini (Chad Bascombe) – Amazon's new Kindle Fire, a Justice Department settlement, and an aggressive pricing strategy suggest the company is not content to simply make a great tablet. It wants to dominate Apple.
What We're Reading – Bring on the debates! (Chicago Tribune); How to be a successful First Lady: Step 1: Pretend you don't want the job (Slate); Details of a Hollywood-style Los Angeles bank heist (AP); Komen NYC: Rough race ahead, and women stand to lose (The Daily Beast); Washington, District of Cycling (Fast Company); Science could soon let us run as fast as Usain Bolt (The Guardian); How your cell phone hurts your relationships (Scientific American).